Day +770: My mouth is dry, my legs are weak…

“I’m thinking this cause I can’t speak.
If you only knew what you’re putting me through…”

1/8/2013: This afternoon, the phone rings. “Hello, this is Debbie from Dr. B’s office. He asked me to talk to you about last week’s blood work and schedule a follow-up…” In that few seconds, I feel my heart stop. I can’t believe how quickly my mind races through the many fears, the possibilities of what might be wrong. This would not have happened in my pre-cancer life. I don’t spend time dwelling on the negatives but each day nonetheless holds some split-second reminder of how things have changed. I miss that sense of innocence and complacency that had arisen from 56 years of being essentially fat and happy and in remarkably good health.

As Debbie continues in the next few seconds, I learn that the anomaly in my blood work is elevated potassium. Dr. B recommends that I avoid potassium rich foods like bananas, oranges, and tomato sauces (none of which I often eat anyway) this week and get a retest on Friday. Some quick research pretty much allays my fears. I don’t have any symptoms, it was normal four weeks earlier, and false readings are not uncommon, especially if there’s a delay in processing the blood. I had the blood drawn on January 2, and unlike the CBC, the CMP was processed by a third-party lab. Most likely, a lot of people were still on vacation or not functioning at best capacity the day after the holidays. It’s great that Dr. B is diligent with follow-ups but I realize if he were very worried, he’d have called me personally. He never relays bad news through others and he’s always very straightforward, qualities that make me trust him implicitly. I’ll post an update when I get my next results.

In the meantime, as promised, here’s a somewhat overdue tagline update:

Day +711: Hurt So Good, John [Cougar] Mellencamp (IDed by Chris)
Day +720: Growltiger’s Last Stand from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Cats – lyrics by T.S. Eliot (IDed by Guy and indirectly by Robb)
Day +731: Let’s Live for Today, The Grass Roots (IDed by Debbie)
Day + 737: Ride the Wild Wind, Queen
. Revolution 9, The Beatles (IDed by Chris)
. Truckin’, The Grateful Dead (IDed by Debbie)
. The Long And Winding Road, The Beatles (IDed by Debbie)
Day +743: Bargain, The Who (IDed by Debbie and partly IDed by Chris)
Day+762: Time Passages, Al Stewart
. 99.9 F, Suzanne Vega
Day +764: I Am Woman by Helen Reddy (IDed by Chris and Dana with a valiant attempt by Robb)


  1. Oh Karen can’t tell how much I relate to this post!!! (FEARS)!!! Hopefully one day it’ll get better 😉

  2. I totally hear you when you describe that instant worry. The people on the other line don’t realize the “wrong wording” could instantly send a person like us into fear and anxiety until we really realize what they are getting at. Will we ever have that innocence again of not worrying? Probably not. I do the same thing as you described above. Take care. p.s. I got a snuggly boy laying in my lap right now sleeping.

  3. Please don’t have a Heart Attack (Olivia Newton John). I am thinking 2013 is going to be a great year for you.

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